In the glorious win last week over the Saints the NFL nation saw how good of a team the San Francisco 49ers are and the unseasonably sunny weather at Candlestick Park. The weather not being a factor was a benefit for the Saints and 49ers. This Sunday however everyone will see how drastically different the weather will be in San Francisco from one week to the next.
There is a 90% chance of rain forecasted for Thursday and Friday, with 60-70% chance of rain Saturday and Sunday. Predicting the rain can be a guessing game but it looks like we can count on rain all day Thursday and Friday, soaking up Candlestick’s field. Even if it does not rain on Saturday or Sunday the field will not be in great condition.
The groundskeepers will likely have a tarp on the field when it’s raining but it has to come off at some point. The field at Candlestick is below sea level and can get a wet even when it’s not raining. Niner fans are used to seeing home playoff games played in the rain and mud. With rain off and on in San Francisco until Sunday we can expect another playoff game in wet conditions and a possible muddy field.
Another issue with the rain is the affect on the game for the Giants and 49ers. Players on both teams will say the weather will not be an issue at all but the elements will affect the offense, defense and special teams.
For wide receivers and cornerbacks making cuts on passing routes and getting footing to turn to make a play will be more difficult. A big play for a touchdown could go either way for the offense or defense depending on who happens to be running on a good portion of the field.
The Giants and 49ers rushing games are straight ahead run styles, so the only affect on running backs will be holding onto the football. Don’t expect many cutbacks or bounces to the outside by both sides’ running backs.
Linebackers will also have issues with footing if they over commit one way and have to quickly cut back to make a tackle.
The offensive and defensive lines should not have too many issues in the game however the special teams will be affected on field goals and punts. Candlestick Park is known for swirling winds inside the stadium and there is expected to be heavy gusts of wind with the rain on Sunday.
Picking who has the advantage with the wet conditions is not easy because the Giants and 49ers are almost equal. Even without the rain the final score would be in the 20’s for the Giants and 49ers with both having physical and playmaking defenses that can shut down offenses. With the 49ers having the better defense over the Giants against the pass and the run, gives them the advantage. The only way the Giants are capable of beating the 49ers is through the air. The Giants rushing game has been strong during their four-game winning streak however the 49ers have proven they can ground to a halt any rushing attack. With a slower field than we saw last week against the Saints, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz will have a harder time getting open and beating the 49ers on the outside. If it’s rainy during the game we could see a lot of drop passes from both teams.
The 49ers offense will be less affected because they are a run first team. Even with Alex Smith’s heroics and performance last week, Jim Harbaugh would not mind having to run the football a majority of the time because of the rain. Expect big things from Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter.
Oh, yeah and it’s been really cold in San Francisco since Monday. Like record lows cold.
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Topics: 49ers Preview, Giants Preview, Giants Vs. 49ers, New York Giants, New York Giants Vs. San Francisco 49ers: Expect Rain For NFC Championship Game, NFC Championship, NFL Playoffs, San Francisco 49ers, Weather NFC Championship